Two down, two to go for South American Club Championship semis


Maximiliano Gauna of Personal Bolivar tips the ball over the block of San Martin Cochabamba at the 2017 South American Club Championship in Montes Claros.

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 23, 2017 - The two Argentine representatives in the competition, reigning national champions Personal Bolivar and 2015 South American champions UPCN San Juan, both qualified for Friday's semifinals of the 2017 South American Men's Club Championship in the Minas Gerais state of Montes Claros, Brazil.

The two Argentina clubs secured the top two places of Pool B and will come head-to-head Thursday evening to decide who finishes first in the pool. They will both be joined by the top two teams of Pool A, which will be decided on the closing day of pool play after defending champions Sada Cruzeiro Contagem scattered hosts Montes Claros Volei on Wednesday night.

The winners of the South American Club Championship get a direct ticket to the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship next December in Poland.

Led by Lucas Ocampo's 15 points, Personal Bolivar defeated reigning Bolivia champions San Martin of Cochabamba 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-16), finding little resistance on the way. But UPCN were taken by surprise when reigning Peru champions Unilever Lima took an early lead, before the Argentines turned the game around for a 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-20). Unilever captain Francis Mendoza was top scorer of the game with 20 points, but UPCN replied with 16 each from Gustavao Bonatto of Brazil and Nicolas Lazo.

To close the day in Montes Claros, Sada Cruzeiro silenced the home crowd with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-15) sweep of the home team, leaving qualification to the semifinals from Pool A to be decided when Sada Cruzeiro take on Uruguay's Bohemios of Montevideo Thursday evening.

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